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Academic Speakers and Honorarium

When hiring a speaker, whether an author, subject matter expert, entertainer, etc..., there are normally two ways you will pay these individuals: 1) with a contract or 2) as an honorarium.

If the speaker requires a signed agreement/contract prior to the engagement or simply requires a payment for their services, then you are entering a contract with that individual.  Refer to the Decision Tree link below for dollar thresholds and appropriate way to handle.

An honorarium on the other hand is a one-time payment to show appreciation to a speaker or guest lecturer. The honorarium is generally not a negotiated fee or price established between the parties. Honorariums may NOT be paid to employees of Clemson University.  Honorarium amounts are taxable and reported based on IRS 1099 - Misc Reporting law. If the honorarium is for more than $2,500, it must be requisitioned through buyWays and follow State Procurement code - normally using a sole source form with justification unless an exemption applies.  

There are many other potential items to consider when paying a speaker/individual.  Please refer to the Disbursement Grid below and sections for “Foreign Vendors” if payment is to a foreign vendor. Refer to the “Professional Fees” section for assistance in distinguishing between Honorariums and Professional Fees.

Ordering and Additional Information below:

Helpful Links:

  • Decision Tree — flowchart designed to help you choose which purchasing method should be used.
  • Disbursement Grid — grid used as an aid to assess availability of the type of University funds prior to making commitments.
  • Policies, Procedures and Guidelines
  • Exemption List — may be applicable to your purchase
    • 15. Purchases for commercial resale such as food (Campus Dining Services), books (University Book Store), drugs and pharmaceutical supplies (Student Health Center), arts and crafts supplies (Youth Learning Institute), and other items which are sold in the retail market.
    • 39. Expenditures of funds at state institutions of higher learning derived wholly from athletic or other student contests, from the activities of student organizations and from the operation of bookstores, except as such funds are used for the procurement of construction, architect-engineer, construction-management and land surveying services.